Virat Kohli faces tough task against Eoin Morgan’s buoyant England
Virat Kohli would be desperate to level the T20I series against England in Nagpur but the venue hasn’t been kind to the hosts and neither do India have any momentum going into the second match.cricket Updated: Jan 28, 2017 19:04 IST
Virat Kohli faces the daunting task of avoiding a series defeat in the T20 Internationals against England. After taking over the Test leadership role, Kohli & Co are up against a formidable side led by Eoin Morgan, and need to level the series in the must-win second game here at the VCA Stadium on Sunday.
The task is tough as the venue hasn’t been kind to the hosts and neither is the momentum with them. India are yet to win a T20I here after two games, and it was at Jamtha that India registered their lowest T20I total when they folded up for 79 in 18.1 overs against New Zealand during last year’s World T20 opener.
The momentum too seems to have been affected with two consecutive losses — the third ODI at Kolkata and the first T20I at Kanpur.
While the selectors decided to rest key spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for the T20 series in view of the forthcoming five Tests, the absence of regular openers Rohit Sharma (through injury) and Shikhar Dhawan (dropped) has forced Kohli to open the batting.
The other opener KL Rahul’s woeful form is hurting the team as well. Since his 199 in the Chennai Test, Rahul has scored 8, 5, 11 and 8 in limited-overs matches.
Pant in the fray
On Saturday, Kohli and coach Anil Kumble were seen considering their options for the second opener. Rookie left-hander Rishabh Pant and the right-handed Mandeep Singh were amongst the first ones to kick off the nets session.
While Mandeep came out after a while, Pant faced pacers, spinners and took throw-downs. Rahul, however, had an extended session as he batted in the open nets towards the end of the practice session. Batting coach Sanjay Bangar was later seen giving him a few tips.
Practice for yorkers
Quitting captaincy has given MS Dhoni the much-needed space to work on his game. After facing the bowlers in the nets, Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh batted in the open nets where they practiced for yorkers and short balls. The senior India duo practiced for around half an hour each. Yuvraj was also seen giving tips to Pant on the sidelines of the fielding drills.
England, meanwhile, seem to have mastered the art of winning T20 games in India, after their success in the World T20 last year where they were runners-up despite being short on experience.
The T20 series is also England’s last chance to end the long India tour on a winning note after losing the Tests 0-4 and ODIs 1-3.